Our namesake dessert is a New York classic that pairs rich cocoa cakes with cream-cheese frosting.
DID YOU KNOW?
Red Velvet cake dates to World War II, when bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the color of their baked goods. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel came up with the original recipe, topping a beet-chocolate cake with tangy cream cheese.
Back in the day all recipes were done by hand, so it’s fine if you don’t have an electric mixer. (We’re big fans of wooden spoons and whisks.) It will take a bit more time, but you get a nice arm workout!
BAKING PAN ADVICE
If you don't have an 8" baking pan, don't fret! You can use a 9" pan, or even a square pan that's equivalent in volume. Make sure you sufficiently butter (and lay down parchment paper if you have it), and adjust baking time accordingly (check on your cake frequently, but try not to open the oven door!).
You’ve got some gorgeous ingredients! Once you’ve unpacked your kit, preheat your oven to 350°F. Take out 2 eggs from your refrigerator. Using 1 tablespoon or less of butter provided, butter each pan, insert parchment paper rounds, and butter the paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, scraping down sides to incorporate fully. Mix in red food coloring and half of the vanilla extract (you'll use the rest for the frosting in step 4). Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating both in small batches, until fully mixed.
In a small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar (it will bubble and foam!). Add the mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds. Divide the batter evenly among both pans. Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature.
Divide batter evenly between the pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pans and then flip them onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.(Frosting will melt if cake is not completely cooled!) When ready to frost, peel back parchment paper and discard.
Sift the confectioner's sugar over a bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add confectioner’s sugar, in two batches, then remaining vanilla, and mix until smooth.
Frost your cakes using an offset spatula (or non-serrated knife). Place one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Use about one-quarter to one-third of frosting to sandwich both cakes. Then frost entire cake with remaining icing: apply a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of cake. Repeat with remaining frosting, working to smooth out all surfaces. Decorate by sprinkling white sugar pearls and red sanding sugar around the bottom and top edges.